How to translate text using browser tools
1 February 2004 Causal Chain Analysis and Root Causes: The GIWA Approach
Juan Carlos Belausteguigoitia
Author Affiliations +

The Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA) was created to help develop a priority setting mechanism for actions in international waters. Apart from assessing the severity of environmental problems in ecosystems, the GIWA's task is to analyze potential policy actions that could solve or mitigate these problems. Given the complex nature of the problems, understanding their root causes is essential to develop effective solutions. The GIWA provides a framework to analyze these causes, which is based on identifying the factors that shape human behavior in relation to the use (direct or indirect) of aquatic resources. Two sets of factors are analyzed. The first one consists of social coordination mechanisms (institutions). Faults in these mechanisms lead to wasteful use of resources. The second consists of factors that do not cause wasteful use of resources per se (poverty, trade, demographic growth, technology), but expose and magnify the faults of the first group of factors. The picture that comes out is that diagnosing simple generic causes, e.g. poverty or trade, without analyzing the case specific ways in which the root causes act and interact to degrade the environment, will likely ignore important links that may put the effectiveness of the recommended policies at risk. A summary of the causal chain analysis for the Colorado River Delta is provided as an example.

Juan Carlos Belausteguigoitia "Causal Chain Analysis and Root Causes: The GIWA Approach," AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 33(1), 7-12, (1 February 2004).
Published: 1 February 2004

This article is only available to subscribers.
It is not available for individual sale.

Get copyright permission
Back to Top